How to Harvest Royalties From Your Ideas — Entrepreneur Addiction #39 with Stephen Key

4 min read • Jun 04, 2012 • Dan Bischoff

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Tim Ferris made a name for himself with The 4-Hour Workweek, a guide to making more cash while working less.

But before he put pen to paper on the book, he was mentored by Stephen Key, the “idea man.” Stephen is the author of “One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work.” He’s made a ton of money selling ideas to companies and collecting royalties on the products that are manufactured and sold.

In this episode, we chat about how he does it — which is surprisingly simple — and how entrepreneurs can adopt those same philosophies for similar results. If you’re an inventor, a product developer, or just have good ideas to improve the products you use every day, this is the show for you.

Enjoy the conversation:

About the Guest
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor and entrepreneur, having licensed over 20 products in the past 30 years. A holder of over 13 patents, Stephen’s products have sold in Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, Disney Stores and theme parks worldwide, and have been endorsed by basketball great Michael Jordan and Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Stephen’s innovative Spinformation rotating label has been licensed for use on many products including a product called Accudial. Accudial shows parents how to dose their child’s liquid medication by weight versus traditional age, making it more accurate.

Stephen has appeared on national television numerous times, including an appearance on the CNBC show “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and as an expert guest on “Dr. Phil.” Stephen has been interviewed by national magazines, newspapers, and authors such as Tim Ferris (“The 4-Hour Work Week”) and Donny Deutsch (“The Big Idea”). Stephen was also a consultant on the first season of the hit ABC reality TV show “American Inventor,” created by Simon Cowell. Stephen was a keynote speaker at the US Patent & Trademark Office 14th Annual Independent Inventor Conference in November 2009.

Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen co-founded inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors, entrepreneurs, or anyone with an idea the necessary steps to build wealth through licensing. Stephen has a new book from McGraw-Hill titled “One Simple Idea” is available in book stores nation wide as well as online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more information please visit:,, and

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  • Stephen Key, author of One Simple Idea
  • The mentor of Tim Farris
  • Stephen Key’s story
  • Selling on the street corner
  • Kick failed products to the curb as fast as you can
  • Let companies do all the hard work for you
  • Speed to market
  • Renting ideas to companies
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel
  • Piggybacking on other people’s products
  • Provisional patent application
  • Don’t create something that can’t be manufactured
  • Open innovation
  • Always sell benefits
  • How Stephen outsmarted P&G
  • How to generate ideas
  • The Michael Jordan backboard that sold for 10 years
  • Show them how to leverage their license and sell more product
  • The importance of innovation
  • When to start an LLC.
  • Should I quit my day job?
  • Calling companies on your lunch break
  • The difference between those who succeed and those that don’t
  • Numbers game
  • Making money off a drawing
  • The danger of over thinking
  • Show the ‘Wow’
  • If you want to play it safe, don’t leave your house
  • How to protect your ideas
  • It’s all about ‘perceived ownership’
  • Make money as fast as you can and get out
  • Why Stephen is giving away his secrets
  • How to grade your ideas
  • The only opinion that matters is the companies’ that you’re showing it to
  • Be creative with everything you do
  • Get off the couch and have some fun

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Dan Bischoff